Islanders to discuss economy, schools, energy in Rockland

Posted Nov. 04, 2010, at 9:56 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — About 120 people will take a ferry, boat or plane to Rockland for a three-day island sustainability conference beginning today. The third annual Island to Island: Sustainable Island Living Conference will focus on island schools, economy, energy and leadership.

Shey Conover, the senior programs director at the Island Institute, which is putting on the event this weekend, said it revolves around networking.

“The goal is both to provide information in ways that will help make new connections and also to provide opportunities for skill building,” she said. “We make an effort to structure conversations in a way that people feel they can take these ideas home and know how to move forward.”

Conover said that although the conference focuses heavily on island issues, nonislanders are welcome to attend.

Events kick off Friday night with a keynote address by Woody Tasch, who founded a nonprofit to help build local food economies. Saturday is filled with lectures and breakout sessions, and wraps up with some bluegrass music downtown.

On Sunday, participants will choose one of four trips. For people who want to discuss wind, a boat will leave for Vinalhaven for a tour of the Fox Islands Wind project. North Haven will offer a tour of an organic, four-season farm. Islesboro will hold several sessions after a ferry ride from Lincolnville. Participants there will learn about Islesboro’s efforts to create affordable housing, will tour the school and discuss its magnet program, which brings mainland children to the island, and will learn about the school’s gardening program, which generates meals for the students. Last, people can tour a fishing co-op in Port Clyde to learn how fishermen there are marketing and selling their own fish.

“I think all these themes will resonate with keeping strong communities in general,” Conover said Thursday. “We’re talking about islands, but these themes would be interesting to anyone who is active in their community.”

Full conference access costs $45 for islanders and $65 for mainlanders. For more information visit islandinstitute.org/silconference.

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